Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/155

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139
OLIVER TWIST.

some relenting lest her disclosure should bring him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded, and he should fall at last—richly as he merited such a fate—by her hand.

But these were the mere wanderings of a mind unable wholly to detach itself from old companions and associations, though enabled to fix itself steadily on one object, and resolved not to be turned aside by any consideration. Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful inducements to recoil while there was yet time; but she had stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept—she had dropped no clue which could lead to his discovery—she had refused, even for his sake, a refuge from all the guilt and wretchedness that encompassed her—and what more could she do? She was resolved.

Though every mental struggle terminated in this conclusion, they forced themselves upon her again and again, and left their traces too. She grew pale and thin even within a few days. At times she took no heed of what was passing before her, or no part in conversations where once she would have been the loudest. At